Feel the Burn: Painful-Looking Vintage Exercise Machines

Today we have Bowflexes, Ab Rollers and all kinds of other weird contraptions designed to get (or keep) us in shape. But almost a century ago, the exercise machines were a little more sinister looking. And, apparently, you had to be fully dressed and look totally miserable while using them.

Some of these contraptions from 1920 are easy enough to recognize. They look a lot like the machines that we use today at the gym…although if someone showed up to work out in a suit we’d probably worry about them.

But others in this set look more like torture devices than exercise machines. It’s not hard to imagine them stretching someone out until they were ready to give information or breaking vertebrae one by one.

Still others look a little more like terribly painful antique…ahem…”marital aids.” All we can say is that if this is how exercise looked in the 1920s and we’d been around then, we’re pretty sure we would have avoided working out just as religiously as we do today.

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See more in Antique Gadgets or under Vintage & Retro. December, 2010.